3. Being polite through irony

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This chapter examines irony and politeness in spoken Spanish utterances, two phenomena that have traditionally been considered contradictory. However, through the application of a pragmatic approach to spontaneous discourse, politeness and irony are found to be very close phenomena and irony can even be considered a strategy to produce politeness. Most researchers have studied ‘prototypical irony’; i.e., non-polite or negative irony. On the contrary, non-prototypical (positive) irony is examined to show that politeness can be present. Our study is part of a wider research agenda by the GRIALE group that looks at markers that help the listener recognize the ironic meaning.


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